There WILL Be Onions

Photo by Gayla Trail  All Rights Reserved

I am still working on getting warm season transplants into the community garden plot. I’m still working on same on the roof for that matter. I was a little gun shy this spring, following on the heels of last year’s June 5 Curcubit killing cold snap. While that didn’t happen this year, I was relieved to have played it safe when a reader wrote in reporting a snowfall on June 11 in their part of North America. June 11! The horrors!

Regardless of timing, one thing is for sure: the onion harvest is out of control! I’ve always been fortunate when it comes to onions but I’ve hit some kind of personal record this year and it is only June. I foresee a lot of onions in our future, especially given that I planted more onion sets a while back, and have a whole tray of onion seedlings sitting out on the roof waiting to be planted.

If you look at early spring shots of my community garden it looks like I am growing an onion and garlic garden more than anything. I mentioned that I would be pulling many of them up, replacing them with new warm season transplants as planting got underway. Well…. earlier this week on one such occasion I brought back an entire box of onions. And I brought another box back last night. I know I’m writing this like it is some kind of blight but I am an actually embarrassingly proud. Last night I walked my bike back from the community garden, careful to avoid spilling my bounty all over the street and proud as a peacock secretly hoping someone would exclaim, “Wow look at all those onions!” To which I would proudly reply, “Yep. Grew them myself. And this is only the half of them!” And then I would hand them a bunch. Because I’m onion wealthy and I like to spread the love. This all played out in my head like a King of Kensington-style fantasy sequence. Except in my version I’m the Onion Queen of Parkdale. In real life I walked silently with nary a sideways glance from passing neighbours and arrived home to an empty building. It was another 30 minutes before my neighbour knocked on the door for coffee and I could finally turn to the giant box waiting in the hall and shout, “Dude, check out my onions!”

And I’m not done yet. Nope, there are currently craploads of full-sized bunching onions left in spaces that I will be replacing with some of the straggling transplants this weekend. We are about to experience an onion gold rush over here! And if bunching onions were worth their weight in gold we’d be selling out and moving to a cliff side house with an ocean view. Except in reality that box of onions might fetch a couple of dollars at best and we’re really just standing around starring at it and wondering what to do with such an enormous bounty. I’ve already roasted a a few and have considered pickling a few more. One reader suggested Korean Scallion Pancakes. That sounds delicious and we will definitely be trying those this weekend.

Since you all had such wonderful, creative ideas for using rhubarb I have to ask, What do you do with your onion bonanza? I’m especially asking about the bunching onions because they have a lot of greens and I’d like to use those if I can rather than just tossing them into the compost.

Gayla Trail
Gayla is a writer, photographer, and former graphic designer with a background in the Fine Arts, cultural criticism, and ecology. She is the author, photographer, and designer of best-selling books on gardening, cooking, and preserving.

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29 thoughts on “There WILL Be Onions

  1. Egg Drop Soup…. i wanted some bunching onions just the other day cause i was craving that…… i wish i was your neighbor! i would have ooohed and ahhhhed at your bounty :) way to go!

  2. Caramelize them and make an onion, goat cheese and sage pizza/tart/sammy. You need a ton of fresh onions to get a few cups of caramelized goodness. yummmm…

  3. How about onion rings in a buttermilk or beer batter? I am jealous of all your onions. I only have chives. At least they are starting to blossom and look pretty.

  4. Roasted onions and paprika-laced sour cream as an appetizer. Or! Salmon filets and onion halves prepared on the grill with a garlic-and-lemon marinade. And what about a grilled onion-and-sharp cheddar sandwich (on sourdough)?

    See, now I’m all hungry. hmmph.

  5. I remember my grandmother making onion bread and mustard pickles with tons of onions, because she always managed to grow more onions than anything else.

  6. Hi all,

    So far I just grow ‘em. Bunching, spanish, etc. …I’m going to find (or create) a really good multi-onion soup recipe. And then I am going to make myself “sick-of-onions”… Hey, if I use 6 kinds of onions, I’ll call it Six-of-Onions Soup. Of course, I will most likely sweat onions. Stinky.

    Greg

  7. funny how it takes someone else to bounce ideas off … I’ve got tons of onions in my garden now too and I just state at them proudly not knowing what to do with them … then Gayla – you ask for ideas and I remember howmy Chinese ‘best friend’ taught me how to make a VERY tasty relish thats dead easy to make – it’s really really-really good on chicken & rice with stir fry vegetables …

    all you have to do is:_ slice the onion (lots of green bits are essential), mince ginger (to taste), toss this into hot oil (in your wok) and quick like a bunny take it all out (you just want to wilt it really) and put it into a side dish and add as much salt as you like … then use it as relish for your stir fries! Keep it in the fridge (just cover it with more oil so it’s covered) …

  8. I have no idea why I did not caramelize them and onion soup to the list since these are both ways to prepare onions that we practically live on… most especially caramelizing… A week doesn’t go by when we are putting caramelized onions onto or into something.

    Onion bread! Yes!

  9. is that a chocolate brown metal bin i see in the photo? does that mean you bought another one for yourself, or sneaked back to your brother’s house and recuperated the one you donated to him? :)

  10. Buy some Lemons and garnish everything you eat with fesh squeezed lemon and chopped onions. It works

  11. I use scallions in a lot of things, particularly chicken salad, chicken soup, meatloaf, and my family’s special pasta salad… we use linguini or vermicelli, but you could use any pasta, tomatoes, cucumbers, scallions or any other type of onion, Italian dressing, and Bascom’s Salad seasoning.. which we cannot find here in Kentucky unless we order it straight from the factory in bulk. Good thing I have a big family and we all use it! it’s made in Westport, CT, but you could make something very similar if you mix salt, white pepper, celery seed, garlic powder, dried basil, dried marjoram and rubbed sage. It’s very tasty. And I realize I kind of went off on an unrelated tangent, so I’ll stop now. If I think of any other things I use my onions for, I’ll let you know… I am a chef after all.

  12. Tiffany – onion, goat cheese and sage pizza/tart/sammy sounds great! I’d love to have the recipe for that!

  13. I’ve got a little bit of onion-envy over here.

    I love to put big chunks of grilled onions in my fajitas. Also, did anyone mention salsa? It’s great in the summer, but you can also put that stuff in a jar and save it for the hungry season.

  14. Kate: Salsa for sure! These are only the early batches of onions. I’ll be harvesting lots more in the late summer/early fall when the other salsa ingredients are in season.

  15. The tough tops of scallion greens go in a bag in the freezer along with mushroom stems, parsley stems and other trimmings to be used for stock. Chicken bones go in another bag. I avoid potatoes and the cabbage family. Make a small quantity of stock when you have a full bag or use to supplement fresh ingredients.

  16. hmmm …as i’m harvesting some of mine I wonder if anyone cuts the root ends off and replants them with any success? lookin fwd to large amounts of them next year :)

  17. I try to add caramelized onions to everything: egg salad sandwiches, green salads, soups, pasta, sour-dough bread, make your own infused vinegar with onions and chive flowers or drizzle some balsamic vinegar over the caramelized onions and serve at room temperature with cheese as an appetizer.

    Also, nothing is better than grilled onions on a Gardenburger/regular burger.

    Ah….

  18. I have been living on quinoa tabbouleh for several weeks now. It’s so tasty, and adaptable to whatever onions, scallions, garlics, leeks and shallots I happen to be thinning, as well as using up mint and parsley.

  19. Marlene-
    You really don’t need a recipe for the onion, goat cheese and sage pizza combo. Just throw a ton of onions into the skillet with some oil or butter, add balsamic and slow cook. Throw the rest together. Crisp the sage leaves in a little butter for extra happiness. All the better if you grew the onions and sage yourself… and made the bread/dough. Swoon…

  20. If all else fails and you have access to a dehydrator, chop & dehydrate them for use later.

    It’s also good if you carmelize them, to mix them with lentils and rice cooked with a cinnamon stick in the water. Super cheap, super yum. I even eat this for breakfast sometimes.

  21. I am 37 y.o., a nascent food gardener, American, and have never in my life heard the term “bunching onions” — is it a Canadian Thang? We call ‘em scallions.
    Def try the Korean scallion pancakes — yummers.

  22. On Kabobs with big hunks of Plantains and garlic.

    All my onions died–I killed them-long story. But my garlic is doing very well.

    I am looking into planting more onions now for this second season.
    :)

    If I saw you with those onions or anyone for that matter I would be dutifully amazed and happy for you.

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